Scotland captain Andy Robertson and Match of the Day host Gary Linker are among the famous faces backing a new charity campaign highlighting the racial abuse suffered by NHS staff.
Show Racism the Red Card launched a new video on Friday, which shares the stories of frontline NHS staff as they recount their experience of racial discrimination at work.
It follows a recent UNISON survey, which found that 11% of people have experienced racist behaviour at work.
With the UK relying more than ever on a stretched NHS amid the coronavirus pandemic, the project aims to highlight that racism remains a systemic issue that cannot be ignored.
Yvonne Coghill, Director in WRES Implementation Team for the NHS, said: “Since its inception in 1948 the NHS has been dependent on its BME workforce to deliver care and services to the population of this country.
“We are proud that the NHS is one of the most diverse organisations in the country, with one in five of the workforce being from a background other than white British.
“The contribution that this group of people makes to enable our NHS to be the best healthcare organisation in the world cannot be underestimated, never more than now during the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is incumbent on all of us, whoever we are and whatever background we are from to stand up to and call out any kind of discrimination or racism in our service.”
Of those reported to have experienced racism whilst at work in the NHS, 34% said the racism was frequent or regular, whilst 10% said it occurred weekly or even daily.
Almost one in 10 (8.8%) of those who answered left their jobs as a consequence of the racism they experienced.
The NHS has already made marked progress in its fight against discrimination in the workplace and its support for those discriminated against.
In 2019, Health Secretary Matt Hancock penned a letter to NHS staff in which he stated that any patients wishing to be treated by a white doctor ‘must be told no’, and that management ‘must and will always back you up.’
In November last year, however, ITV News revealed that recorded verbal and physical racist attacks directed at NHS staff had soared by 145%.
The UNISON survey found that 60% of those who didn’t report the racist behaviour they experienced, felt nothing would be done.
Linker, who features in the new video alongside the likes of Monty Panesar, Wes Morgan and Chris Kamara, said: “It’s easy to target and blame immigrants for the problems of this country, when we all know they’ve contributed a hell of a lot.
“Would the NHS survive without immigrants filling some of those jobs? Would we have enough nurses or doctors? No.”
Ged Grebby, Chief Executive at Show Racism the Red Card, said: “SRtRC is dedicated to tackling racism and promoting change in society through education. With this short film, we’re hoping we can again contribute to a discussion around combating rife racism in society – this time in the NHS.
“With BAME communities forming part of the backbone of our Health Service, and with the Health Service being integral to our society, we felt compelled to raise awareness around the discrimination suffered here.”
Wes Morgan, captain of Leicester City, added: “The NHS is one of our most treasured British institutions and I am sure all would join me in thanking NHS workers for their heroic efforts both before and during the current Covid-19 crisis.
“NHS workers, like all of us, should not be subject to racism and deserve a workplace that is free from prejudice. Let’s all join together to Show Racism the Red Card and support our key workers.”
The NHS are committed to supporting equality amongst its workforce and stamping out any discrimination faced by its staff.
Grebby added: “We were delighted to have the support of the NHS to produce this short film – and it’s particularly pertinent given the current pandemic. We hope we can encourage a model of good practice that can be adopted in wider society.”